The Dharma-Door of Nonduality

Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti asked those bodhisattvas, "Good sirs, please explain how the bodhisattvas enter the Dharma-door of nonduality!"

(Many bohisattvas spoke, among them Priyadarshan.)

The bodhisattva Pratyaksadarsana declared, "'Destructible' and 'indestructible' are dualistic. What is destroyed is ultimately destroyed; hence, it is called 'indestructible.' What is indestructible is instantaneous, and what is instantaneous is indestructible. The experience of such is called 'the entrance into the principle of nonduality.'"

(Others continued to speak.)

When the bodhisattvas had given their explanations, they all addressed the crown prince Manjusri: "Manjusri, what is the bodhisattva's entrance into nonduality?"

Manjusri replied, "Good sirs, you have all spoken well. Nevertheless, all your explanations are themselves dualistic. To know no one teaching, to express nothing, to say nothing, to explain nothing, to announce nothing, to indicate nothing, and to designate nothing--that is the entrance into nonduality."

Then, the crown prince Manjusri said to the Licchavi Vimalakirti, "We have all given our own teachings, noble sir. Now, may you elucidate the teaching of the entrance into the principle of nonduality!"

Thereupon, the Licchavi Vimalakirti kept his silence, saying nothing at all.

The crown prince Manjusri applauded the Licchavi Vimalakirti: "Excellent! Exellent, noble sir! This is indeed the entrance into the nonduality of the bodhisattvas. Here there is no use for syllables, sounds, and ideas.

When these teaching had been declared, five thousand bodhisattvas entered the door of the Dharma of nonduality and attained tolerance of the birthlessness of things.

Thurman notes that this moment is the most famous of this scripture, Vimalakirti's moment of silence on the subject of nonduality, i.e., the ultimate. He points out the Vimalakirti had spoken about this issue on many previous occasions and that his silence here is the appropriate silence to the profound contemplation induced by the elucidations of the bodhisattvas.